Ruiny Erdtelt, Alois (1851 - 1911)


Alois Erdtelt (1851-1911)
was a German artist. He came from a peasant family and received his first lessons from a house painter. He studied at the Berlin Academy, his mentor was Carl Steffeck, then from 1874 to 1879 at the Munich Academy with Wilhelm von Diez. In his work he dealt with landscape painting and became famous as a portraitist. “The images of women and girls by Erdtelt belong to the masterful achievements of portrait art in German realism of the late 19th century.”

Description of the painting:
Views from a high, wooded hill stretch to the shore of a lake with picturesquely scattered town buildings. The white walls and red roofs of distant houses stand out against the lush greenery around. In the background lies a sheet of blue water, above which rises a distant, hilly land. Painted according to the principles of perspective painting, it is blue, sometimes navy. Just above the mountain range flow clouds, whose whiteness stands out against the blue sky above them.

The foreground is occupied by the titular ruins surrounded tightly by trees, which seem to de-fend access to the mossy tower, like its last, most faithful guardians. The vegetation seems to al-most seize and absorb the walls. The variety of tree species presents a wide range of shades of green at the same time. They form a counterweight to the blues, which occupy the second half of the composition. What was probably once a powerful defensive tower, possibly attached to the castle, on the painting seems fragile, close to collapse.

The talent of Alois Erdtelt, from a peasant family, was noticed by the owner of the nearby estate, who sent him to study at the Berlin Academy. The greatest achievements of this German painter are associated with portraits. He rarely dealt with genre painting and landscape, so the Rogalin painting is rather an atypical example of his work. The Picture Gallery also houses one of the extraordinary portraits of this artist.